Saturday, September 7, 2013

Arizona Adventures

Hi again! So since we moved out west we've been trying to explore the rest of Arizona to see what else this state has to offer outside of Phoenix...and I must say I've been pretty impressed! This is the only state I have ever been to where you can jump in the car for 1-2 hours and go from being in a 115 degree desert to a mountain town that is 20-30 degrees cooler and it is pretty awesome! Keep reading and I'll show you :)

First I feel like I can't not mention White Sands, NM. Before we set out on our long drive from Austin to Phoenix, I did a little researching and found out about White Sands. Everything I read said it was a must see if you are going to be anywhere near Las Cruces, NM, and boy were they right. When we first pulled into the park we were a little skeptical of how awesome this place will be; you are in the middle of grass fields and you see what looks like white hills off to your left. So we picked our trail and parked the car sin its lot, still surrounded by grass with a white hill in front of us. We walked over to the hill of white sand and ventured up...and boy were our minds blown!! All you could see was white, everywhere!!

 photo 49e3ecaf-8ee3-4a93-a6dd-94953fbbce0b.jpg  photo 175a1f97-009c-4150-93d9-79999a764d73.jpg

After we got settled in, we decided to hike up Tom's Thumb in Scottsdale. From our apartment, it didn't look like it would be that high or very hard and I was pretty excited. It started out fairly smooth..and then the switchbacks started and I turned into a whiny baby. But we didn't give up and eventually made it to the top and basked in all of it's glory...and checked out a giant saguaro cactus that was 3 times Paul's height-and he's 6'2"!

 photo DSCN1085.jpg saguaro cactus w/o arms photo DSCN1090.jpg

Memorial Day weekend I decided I was going to be 'evil' again (that is what Paul calls me every time I make him exercise) and take us the hour north to check out Sedona. We jumped in the car and headed up I-17. For awhile I wasn't too impressed, and then all of the sudden you go from flat cactus covered land to windy mountain roads and eventually an actual forest - with trees! I was probably a little more excited for trees than I should have been since I had only been out of Texas for a month, but hey call it nostalgia. Then we cut off the interstate to head over to Sedona and suddenly everything started to get more and more of a beautiful reddish tent. We made our way through this cute little town to a dirt road that led to a trail called 'Devil's Bridge' I read about online. Let me tell you, this hike is awesome! You start by walking down a dirt road that is only driveable by high cleareance vehicles, and eventually branch off onto the trail that is a gradual slope mixed with natural stone steps you have to climb up. When you make it to the top of this pretty easy hike you are rewarded with a natural stone bridge that you are able to walk out on. I was so excited to go stand on it, and I even got Mr. Scared of Heights Paul out there with me. Wheeler on the other hand refused to go on the bridge and waited patiently on solid ground.

Next on the list was the little town of Payson, AZ and the Mogollan Rim...which I still repeatedly call the Mongolian Rim because I can't say the real name. We drove out to Payson, which looks just like a small town in Colorado with the amount of trees and 'Elk crossing' signs that you see. We hiked through the forests along a creek, discovered a cute little waterfall and then drove over to the top of the rim when the pup got a blister on his paw and couldn't walk anymore - poor little guy :( When we got to the top of the rim we found this cool little spot where the rocks jet over the edge of the cliff so it feels like you are just floating. I of course ran/climbed right out there and after 15 minutes of convincing finally got Paul to join me...and eventually even got him to dangle his legs off the edge!

 photo DSCN1190.jpg His pad has a blister :( photo DSCN1195.jpg

Ok well I guess that is enough of Arizona talk, plus I keep getting distracted watching this Texas v. BYU game and all of its disappointment. 

Until next time <3

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Things I've been missing

Hi all. I thought I would get the post out of the way where I whine about the things I miss from Texas, and then I can move on to bigger and happier things!

 First of all I miss the breakfast foods; especially kolaches and tacos!!! For those of you who don't know what a kolache is, think of an amped up pigs in a blanket with more choices for fillings. For example, there is sausage & cheese, ham egg & cheese, potato egg & cheese...and anything with jalapeno - my mouth is watering just typing this!! These delicious breakfast treats are courtesy of the Czech influence in Texas and they can be found in any donut shop in the state. There are even full chains dedicated to serving nothing but kolaches (Kolache Factory). Since moving here we have had to learn to make our own kolaches and they've  been decent but not the same :(

Lately I have also been desperately missing tacos, and no I don't mean the kind with ground beef. Breakfast tacos are another staple in central Texas breakfast cuisine.  So much so that there are entire restaurants dedicated to nothing but tacos such as !Torchy'sTacodeli and Lolita's to name a delicious few!

Lastly, and possibly the most important of all, I miss the margaritas!!!! We have been in Phoenix for almost five months now and I have yet to find a good margarita for under $8 because let's face it, I'm admittedly cheap and refuse to spend that much on a drink I know shouldn't cost more than $6. On that note, if you are ever in the Austin area on a Tuesday,  Thursday or Sunday do yourself a favor and go to El Mercado on South 1st and get a grandote margarita... you won't regret it :)

Ok enough whining.  Arizona does have some pretty great places too. So far we have ventured to the McDowell Mountains here in Scottsdale, Sedona,  Flagstaff and Payson and all were gorgeous...but I'll talk about those later. :)

Until next time!